Racomitrium ericoides (Web. ex Brid.) Brid.


Synonym: Niphotrichum ericoides (Web. ex Brid.) Bednarek-Ochyra & Ochyra

Special status: NONE

Recognition: The long, white hair points and prominent papillae on the leaf cells are unmistakable features of the subgenus Niphotrichum, giving them an appearance that one can learn to recognize at a distance. Racomitrium canescens is separated on the basis of its costa being relatively distinctive compared to R. elongatum and N. ericoides. Both R. elongatum and N. ericoides have a slender costa that terminates just below the hair point, the costa sitting in a narrow channel. Racomitrium canescens, on the other hand, has a shortish, irregular costa, often slightly branched, that terminates in a broad trough at the leaf apex.

Separating R. ericoides from R. elongatum is difficult. As mentioned under R. elongatum, one needs to gauge the less bumpy hair points and longer pellucid border on basal leaf margins of the more rare R. ericoides.

Distribution: Apparently quite rare in Oregon; I have never seen it. Not Frisvoll (1983), nor Bednarek-Ochyra (1995), nor Ochyra and Bednarek-Ochyra (2007) give specific localities for Oregon although it is shown as occurring in Oregon on their distribution maps. The Flora of North America shows a dot for California also (Ochyra and Bednarek-Ochyra 2007).

Comments: See comments under R. elongatum regarding separating these two species. It is possible that collections of R. ericoides may be hiding in herbaria under R. elongatum as well as R. canescens.

This species is reported from California by Norris and Shevock (2004a) but it is not clear whether this species or Racomitrium canescens is being referred to because the two were mixed up in the keys (Norris and Shevock 2004b). An authentic specimen of R. canescens would key to R. ericoides and a specimen of the latter would key to R. elongatum. Racomitrium canescens in the strict sense is missing from their keys and catalog.

Racomitrium ericoides; Snohomish Co., Washington. Lesher 4488c


Guide to Racomitrium of Oregon
Created 2007 Northwest Botanical Institute